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APR 30, 2021 | US

BSA Calls on USTR to Combat Innovation-Related Data Barriers in Special 301 Process

WASHINGTON – April 30, 2021 – BSA | The Software Alliance welcomes today’s release of the 2021 Special 301 report from the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR). The Special 301 process is an important opportunity for USTR to address data-related innovation barriers such as data localization mandates and unnecessary data transfer restrictions.

“The US software industry supports millions of American jobs and leads the world in technology innovation. Data localization mandates and similar data-related innovation barriers put technological innovation and economic growth at risk by impairing IP rights and undermining market access for persons who rely on IP rights,” said Joseph Whitlock, Director, Policy at BSA | The Software Alliance. “Sustained attention to these issues is critical, because in today’s digitized economy, research and development (R&D), IP generation, and other creative and scientific endeavors are increasingly cross-border in nature.”

In its 2021 Special 301 submission, BSA called on USTR to bring greater attention to the growing threat of such data-related innovation barriers, which increased by over 800% between 1995 and 2005. Such barriers make AI-based technological and scientific endeavor more difficult, as they prevent the consolidation of representative data sets necessary to conduct AI innovation. They also threaten other IP priorities – from engaging in cross-border R&D, to protecting brands, to investigating IP infringement, to conducting comprehensive prior art searches. Likewise, with so many patented or copyrighted innovations functionally dependent upon satellite or other cross-border data communications, these barriers impede sales, as well as operation and support for such products and services after exportation.

BSA’s 2021 Special 301 submission highlights policies of concern in China, India, Indonesia, and other markets. Read the filing here.


BSA | The Software Alliance (www.bsa.org) is the leading advocate for the global software industry before governments and in the international marketplace. Its members are among the world’s most innovative companies, creating software solutions that help businesses of all sizes in every part of the economy to modernize and grow.

With headquarters in Washington, DC, and operations in more than 30 countries, BSA pioneers compliance programs that promote legal software use and advocates for public policies that foster technology innovation and drive growth in the digital economy.


Michael O’Brien

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